The dairis, or spiritual heads of Japan, were the first sovereigns of the country over which they ruled with absolute power till towards the conclusion of the twelfth century (1185), when Yoritomo was elected commander-in-chief of the empire, and afterwards (in 1192), seii-tai-sho¯gun [Great Barbarian-subduing Shogun]. Their authority, which then suffered a powerful shock, kept gradually declining under the shoguns who succeeded Yoritomo, till at length it received its deathblow during the reign of Ieyasu, or Gongen sama, the first shogun of the present dynasty.1